Iron, not that sort of iron ?

Iron is an essential nutrient to many body cells activities however iron causes a problem for many people of either being deficient or an overload, both of which threatens optimal health.  Iron is a perfect example where too little or too much of a nutrient can be harmful.

Most of the body’s iron is found in two proteins: haemoglobin – in red blood cells, and in myoglobin – in muscle cells. Both protein types carry and release oxygen.  As the body stores, iron is it difficult to excrete when stores are full though more iron is absorbed when stores are low. Balance is maintained generally through the absorption method.

Our bone marrow uses a high volume of iron to create new red blood cells that last approximately 120 days in a healthy individual. Therefore if a person has a low supply and is told to take a supplement or even have a transfusion, retesting is done 3 months down the track.  Surplus iron is stored in the liver, spleen and again in the bone marrow.

The recommended daily intake of iron for adult men is: 8mg/day and adult women is: 18mg/day. (Whitney, 2014)

To maximize iron absorption for those that are low, deficient or anaemic a combined meal is ideal.

A couple of examples are:

·         Baked beans with a piece of ham

·         Toast with a slice of tomato

·         Cook an omelette in a cast iron frypan

·         Use a cast iron pot to cook a roast or casserole in

·         Drink orange juice with a poached egg and spinach frittata

·         Add chopped parsley to your beef and broccoli stir fry

Vitamin C is complementary to iron absorption, something to be mindful of when meal planning.

Other significant iron food sources are: red meats, liver, fish, poultry, shellfish – oysters, eggs, legumes, dried fruits, baked potato, beets, pears, peaches, avocado, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin & sesame seeds.

 

Be mindful, too little or too much iron is toxic. Please see professional advice when adjusting diet and or supplementation.

Janelle Tanzer

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